The reason why most people choose a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is concern about the plight of animals, although other compelling reasons are also significant. The health benefits are widely documented, and there are wider environmental concerns generated by the meat and dairy industry, which cause issues such as deforestation, water pollution, waste of energy and land erosion.
In the old days it was thought that a vegetarian diet would cause health issues, but we now know this is not the case as generations of vegetarians are successfully able to source all the essential proteins and nutrients needed for optimal health. Michael Kern is a strong advocate of animal rights and has been a vegetarian for over 45 years.
The innate cruelty of modern farming methods is driving more people than ever to avoid eating meat and using animal products. Intensive (factory) farming methods have also been proven as a primary source of viruses that have crossed into human populations, a concern that has a striking poignancy in our current global situation. These awful conditions not create suffering for countless animals, but also generate human suffering and so simply have no place in an intelligent and compassionate world.
Environmental Concerns and Food Resources
In addition to the plight of animals, there are multiple environmental concerns generated by the meat industry, which is a major contributor to global warming. For example, the beef industry is one of the key drivers of deforestation, which hugely contributes to climate change.
The meat industry is not only cruel – it also inefficient. A large proportion of agricultural land is used to feed animals rather than grow crops directly used for human consumption, wasting precious water resources and creating a situation in which food yield becomes hugely wasteful. While millions of people worldwide suffer from malnutrition and starvation, millions of tons of food that could resolve this situation are instead being used to feed cattle to produce meat for the well-off. These vast swathes of grain and other crops used in meat production could be simply used for human nutrition and to eradicate human starvation.
Multiple studies have shown that people who follow vegetarian and vegan diets are at a drastically reduced risk of contracting many serious health conditions, including heart disease, colon, lung and breast cancer, obesity and its comorbidities, osteoporosis, and diabetes.